On average, women are less likely than men to identify themselves as potential leaders and to seek opportunities to gain leadership skills or to take on increasingly important and complex leadership roles. I was one of those women, an unplanned and unlikely leader. I never aspired to a leadership role and never thought I would ever end up in a leadership position.
My academic journey has had a winding path defined by serendipity, unexpected choices, work in several countries, and a nontraditional but committed family life. As I’ve reflected on my career, with time spent as a clinician, a teacher, an investigator, and an administrator, serving as a department chair and now a dean, I realize that everything we do prepares us for leadership; each opportunity and each experience is a stepping-stone for increasingly complex leadership positions. Moreover, serving in a leadership role is a great privilege and has been among the most rewarding aspects of my career.
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Stoll BJ. Reflections on Leadership: Seizing and Embracing Opportunities—Holding up Half the Sky. JAMA. 2019;321(22):2165–2166. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.7127
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